Jackie Kellso

Entitlement isn’t the Problem You are Having with Millennials

In ages in the workforce, baby boomers, breakdown in communication, business relationships, communication, communications between generations, entitlement, generation x, generations, generations at work, generations in the workforce, GenXers, improve communication, managing conflict, millennials, professional behavior, professionals over 50, respect by coworkers, Uncategorized on June 6, 2017 at 3:50 pm

You came into the workforce in the 1970s or 80s or 90s. Guess what? The Veteran population (born before 1946) thought you were little know-it-alls just waiting to take their jobs. And you did. There is nothing new about the inconveniences brought about by new generations entering the workforce.

Truly, can we blame Millennials for feeling entitled? Millennials have an entrepreneurial spirit and don’t tend to view corporate life as one big climb up the ladder in a vertical formula. This makes sense: their heroes are themselves Millennials! We didn’t have billionaire, entrepreneurial heroes. (Lee Iacocca wasn’t my hero when I entered the workforce as a secretary in 1982!)

Millennials had more opportunity to learn a wider range of things in college than we even had names for. Millennials do tend to get bored and want to jump ship if they don’t feel challenged. They feel freer to communicate with higher-ups and want to have a voice. They are a loud crowd!

GenXers rose up and flattened out hierarchy, feeling entitled to change reporting structures. This felt like anarchy to Baby Boomers who feel entitled to be respected for their experience and knowledge of how to successfully run a business.

See? Who doesn’t feel entitled to something? What’s wrong here is the fear and bias we are having with the differences in our ages and our cultures. You want to be a role-model for Millennials? Then start remembering what it means to shift your self-image from being a student to becoming a professional. Realize the hardships you had to face and the ways in which humility smacked the feeling of entitlement right out of you. And if this never happened to you, then ask yourself if people would describe you as arrogant and obstinate. Millennials just need time to grow-up; to run up against power threats and failures, and disappoint higher-ups, just like you had to. Meanwhile, stop blaming them for everything that’s making you uncomfortable with the changes that you don’t like.

I coach people of all ages on how to communicate and build interpersonal skills, and the most frequent complaint I hear is dealing with the other generations in the workplace. The answer is really simple. Use the discomfort to learn about your own unconscious biases, the need for confirmation bias (listening for those things you already believe vs. being open to new ideas) and your fears of not being in control. Then, apply TOLERANCE, the desire to UNDERSTAND, to INCLUDE, and to VALUE people who are not replicas of you.

After all, you’re entitled to be at peace.

Humbly yours,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

In the Job Market, 50 is the New 65

In AARP, age discrimination, baby boomers, employers, employment, grey hair, job market, millennials, Professional Reputation, professional women, professionals over 50, retire at 65, retirement age, social security administration, termination of employement, Uncategorized, unemployment, work experience on May 3, 2017 at 4:06 pm

As I reminisce about my professional journey, I remember an event that took place in 1986. I was 27, and an aggressive, up-and-coming ad sales person working for a media company. One day I learned that a 50+ year-old colleague had been fired and was leaving our company. He had had the best office of everyone on the team. So, the minute I heard he was leaving, I packed up my desk and ran down the hall to grab his. Well, I hadn’t counted on his not having exited the building, and encountered him when he came to pick up a box. He caught me filling his desk with my stuff. I looked up at him, speechless. He looked down at me and called me a vulture. Yes, a vulture. And looking back now as my (almost) 58 year-old self, he was right. My behavior was reprehensible.

That experience haunts me today.

It’s sad that at 50 years-old (unless one is wealthy and/or comfortable enough for the rest of one’s life, and wants to retire) many of us are aching to remain challenged, active, earning, vital, learning and necessary to our companies, our clients and our industries. We are sharper than ever as we have the wisdom, the experience and a sense of ourselves that make us valuable team-members, mentors and consultants to our younger colleagues and our peers.

Today, 50 has become ‘that age’ where many employers are ready or getting ready to set us free. Perhaps it costs too much with higher salaries and benefits than the younger, incoming Millennial population. Perhaps there’s just the perception that we’re too old, lacking fresh ideas, not up on technology, have less enthusiasm and/or energy. Any or all are possible.

Why so young? What happened to retirement being 65 and how did that number even become the accepted retirement age? According to the Social Security Administration’s website, the decision to make 65 the magic number for retirement was a pragmatic one, and a main reason was that, “Studies showed that using age 65 produced a manageable system that could easily be made self-sustaining with only modest levels of payroll taxation.” There are other factors having to do with systems that were formulating in the 1930s based on even older precedents. (If you’re interested in this subject, there’s a lot more information you can retrieve on the web.)

Today, there is a huge and growing population of 50+ers who take new jobs for less money and many who become consultants because they can’t find jobs. (Some of course voluntarily change careers and are looking for a new, more meaningful chapter.) According to the Washington Post*, from an AARP survey, “…the headline statistics hide a harsher reality: older workers who do lose a job spend longer periods out of work, and if they do find another job, it tends to pay less than the one they left.” And a”…look at long-term unemployment data….show(s) that older people have a harder time landing jobs after losing one.”

Employers, take note: make sure older employees, “…don’t end up out of work involuntarily before they’re ready. While vocational programs and access to higher education are seen as the ticket to a better job for those just starting out, those who’ve already spent decades in the workforce have less to gain from a training course that will only benefit them for the few years it takes to get to retirement. That’s why avoiding job loss in the first place is so important.”

It pains me to see my talented friends and colleagues suffer; either cut out of work, or struggling to hold onto their jobs (with enough of a hint from employers that their time may be up) or that their positions may fold. And, even though I’m not a corporate employee any longer (leaving in my mid 40s voluntarily to be a coach and trainer) I am a solopreneur in a sea of consultants battling for a unique voice on social media and a secure place as a ‘go-to’ consultant in my field — with a dream of having the comfort and ease of enough referrals and gigs to sustain me for many more years of work. But with so much unemployment and so many out of work consultants vying for position, all in my age range, there is little to rest upon.

I can’t say whether the situation is bad or good. I can only say that it is a journey and an unexpected turn that relies on one’s resourcefulness, passion, social media savvy, networking ability and persistence. We want to believe that there’s always enough for everyone to go around. We hope people will have the choice as to when they retire. Our hearts want to explore paths filled with purpose. But these desires ain’t for the faint of heart!

In the meantime, if you are a Generation X employer or a Baby Boomer executive with hiring authority — take responsibility for your 50-somethings. Show your industry that you are not ageist. Grey hair = invaluable grey matter. Take advantage of what Baby Boomers have that no Millennial can reproduce: the benefits of irreplaceable experience.

Resiliently speaking,

Jackie

*Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/03/30/losing-a-job-is-always-terrible-for-workers-over-50-its-worse/?utm_term=.c25524f7d5a8

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Not Fighting Back is Exhausting and Rewarding

In anger management, avoiding arguments, breakdown in communication, bullies at work, bullies in the office, bullies in the workplace, business relationships, communicating, communicating by phone, communication skills, communications between generations, conflict resolution, David Rock, dealing with a difficult coworker, Detach and Breathe, diplomacy and tact, disagreements, fight or flight, Gurus, interpersonal skills, professional behavior, Uncategorized on April 26, 2017 at 11:00 am

A few years ago, I was challenged by a very difficult client in a fairly visible, corporate position. She would routinely drop the ball on important details and cause mayhem in accomplishing tasks. She bullied and blamed others for problems that she caused. When confronted with a problem (of her making) would say, “Do you know who I am?” (Oh yes, she did!) Anyway, I had to deal with a lot of stress just to ensure that my service to her company was successful, beyond, and in spite of her.

So there I was, someone who touts herself as being an expert in interpersonal effectiveness, and I was failing to build a bridge of trust and rapport with this person, despite all efforts. And after dealing with her for so long, I frankly disliked her so much that it felt too insincere to want to build rapport. Yet, I had to remain professional.

In the midst of all this, she sent me an urgent email to call her ASAP. Taking a deep breath, I called. She then reprimanded me for failing to read the details of one of her emails, berated me for writing back without having done so, and projected onto me her own feelings of being so out-of-control by claiming I was chaotic and acting like a wreck.  Rage boiled and I could feel the sizzle in my brain. I thought I was going to explode and tear her fragile sense of importance into little tiny shreds. (That would have been my old way of coping with someone like this.) But no, I decided to walk-the-walk and model what I teach others to do.

I noticed several things happening as I was holding back my anger and thinking about what to do. First, I know that the act of thinking clearly during high-levels of negative emotions uses more stored glucose than the release of intense emotion. As a result, I found myself getting physically and mentally exhausted. The FIGHT response, my automatic protector, had a full tank of cortisol (stress hormone) at its disposal. My pre-frontal cortex (executive brain) was working really hard to find my way around these feelings and take charge of the conversation. And that was the good news. I had been working to build muscles to think when stressed, and had access to it. I simply used my mantras, “Detach and Breathe” (I wrote an article about the importance of using mantras to manage stress) and, “My feelings are none of her business.” They worked!

Once I got my emotions under control, I used a technique that David Rock of the NeuroLeadership Institute refers to as “Choose Your Focus.” The idea is to stay out of the DRAMA, PROBLEM and even DETAIL and move up the ladder to where constructive dialog can occur. The areas of focus are on the PLANNING and SOLUTION. So, here’s what the conversation sounded like:

CLIENT: “You need to calm down. If you had read my email you wouldn’t have had to write so many. This is absurd and it cannot continue this way.”

ME: “I think we’re talking about a breakdown in communication, and that’s fixable. So, if I understand correctly, we still need to determine the dates for the training.”

CLIENT: “Yes.”

Once she agreed, I held to the facts, and followed up the conversation with an email. It’s really that simple looking in; you just don’t go down there with the other person. But the effort to keep calm is zapping!  She will never know how much energy I spent keeping myself in a neutral and thinking place.

As challenging as this situation is, I see her as my Guru keeping my skills sharpened. It is so true that “Your Most Difficult Co-Worker is Your Greatest Teacher.”

Calmly yours,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.